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N.J. doc to return $2 million to feds in kickback scheme

A Burlington County radiologist was ordered to forfeit $2 million and sentenced today to nearly four years in prison in a scheme that bribed doctors to send their Medicare patients to his MRI center.

Ashokkumar Babaria, 64, of Moorestown, owned and operated Orange Community MRI in North Jersey which in addition to MRIs also provided CT scans, ultrasounds and other diagnostic tests. He previously pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark of violating the federal anti-kickback statute.

In what prosecutors called "a sprawling cash-for-patients scheme," Babaria paid doctors between $25 and $100 for each referral between 2008 and 2011. Some of the doctors referred as many as 20 MRI patients a month. The bribes generated more than $2 million in business for Orange MRI, federal prosecutors said.

Barbaria is one of 17 health professionals who have been convicted as a result of the investigation.

In addition to the 46 month federal prison term, U.S. District Judge Claire C. Checchi sentenced Barbaria to three years of supervised release, forfeit $2,014,601 and pay a $25,000 fine.